October is bullying prevention month. This is a great time to evaluate how we, ourselves, treat others and how we can help prevent bullying. Bullying affects children in so many negative ways. One of them being their ability to learn at a progressive pace. “According to the Center for Disease Control, students who are bullied are more likely to experience low self-esteem and isolation, perform poorly in school, have few friends in school, have a negative view of school, experience physical symptoms, and experience mental health issues.” We all have a role in the bullying crisis. Let’s explore where we stand and how we each can help.
As teachers, we want to see all of our students thrive. This is why it’s so important to give each one of your students special attention. Some may even need a bigger push than others, depending on their mental state. That is why it is vital for you, as an educator and moderator of the classroom, to be able to identify when a child is being bullied. Is the student being isolated during free time? Do they seem scared, out of focus or uninterested in learning? Are their grades facing an unusual decline? These are all signs that point to bullying. Read more about how to identify bullies and victims of bullying in your classroom. Try incorporating bullying awareness into your daily lessons. Here are some great bullying prevention lesson plans for all ages.
As parents, bullying can be a very sensitive matter to deal with. However, it is our duty to identify if our child is showing warning signs. In this day and age, there are so many forms of bullying out there. Along with the more common verbal bullying and physical bullying there is now cyberbullying. Although it seems like a silly concept to be bullied through social and internet platforms, cyberbully can completely tear a child down. With social media power, it’s so easy for bullies to spread false rumors, targeted comments and “troll” other children online. Try your best to identify if your child is being consumed by social media and analyze how it’s affecting their mental health. It’s important to have healthy talks at home and create a peaceful environment. One where your child feels comfortable opening up about the little things that bother them. Try to be as understanding as you can and empathize with their struggles, no matter how “small” they may seem to you. Here is a wonderful journaling activity to share with your children to help them identify their own feelings a bit better and encourage positive self talk.
Statistics have shown that fellow students have the strongest and most unique power when it comes to bullying prevention. If students observe that one student is being singled out and picked on, it is so important for them to speak up immediately. “The group of kids who witness bullying is really important. This group may not be getting bullied, they may not be bullying, but their reaction can make a big difference.” A lot of children are afraid of “tattling.” However, there’s a big difference between tattling and speaking up. It’s so important to tell a parent, teacher, counselor, coach or any adult you trust what is going on. Watch this video to better understand how students can be there for their fellow peers.